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Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by RVTECH, Jun 11, 2010.
Thinking of adding one to my collection. All opinions, good or bad will be appreciated!
Good gun to add but put a Wolf spring pack in it.
It's an excellent gun as-is. Don't be afraid you need to make changes right away to it, though they may improve it.
I spent a few years thinking about a single action. If you know someone who is an impulse buyer, I am his exact opposite. I will spend a year researching a major purchase and then finding the perfect one. I checked out many SA's over about three years and read tons. Consensus was a New Vaquero. I found a good deal on two and bought them, one in 4 5/8" and one in 5.5". Spent a while learning how to handle them and I appreciate the 4 5/8", handles a little better. But the 5.5" was perfectly acceptable, too. Something to understand about the New Vaquero in particular is that unlike most all Ruger single actions since 1962, they have an "XR3"-style grip frame - which is closer to a real Colt SAA than other Rugers over the last 40 years. It is not identical to the pre-'62 Ruger XR3 grip frame, but it is , very very close. This is one reason people have been truly embracing the New Vaquero - the size/handling as well as value.
I got one of the recently (end 2008) discontinued case-color models, it's a real looker. Mechanicals are excellent - good, square b/c gap. Consistent, correct .452/3" cylinder bores. Getting used to the grip takes a little while if this is your first SAA style gun: practice a lot of dry-firing and point shooting. Tip - put two fingers on the front grip strap and curl your strong-hand pinky beneath the grip. Feels funky at first but it's what works and become natural after a while. Mine came with some very high-end custom wood grips. I put the stock ones back on until I got used to it and then I'll get custom grips as I learn what I like with this platform better.
Overall, the New Vaquero has been one of the most satisfying guns I've bought in the last few years (others, a Colt O1918 WWI repro and a 1970 vintage S&W 3.5" 27-2 .357 - so it's got high expectations to meet - and both those guns are worth twice or triple what this one is). The gun was/is well built with good fit and finish. It was, frankly, more than I expected for the money and explains why these SA Rugers are so loved by so many shooters. As another point of comparison, we also have an ANIB 1st year New Model Blackhawk (1973) in the house. The latest production ones exceed that vintage in standard quality. Don't let anyone tell you "they don't make them like they used to" - these Rugers are better than they used to be. One thing I feel compelled to point out is the issue of investment casting. It frequently results in porosities (little voids) in the resulting product that can unfortunately reveal themselves in the finish. My two guns were excellent, and poring over them minutely looking for flaws was almost pointless. The only ones I could find were two tiny pin-prick porosities on the hammer of the 4 5/8" model. I point this out as it's important to understand part of the reason these guns are cheaper than many competitors is the cast vs. forged steel. But strength-wise and cosmetically, it does not appear to be an issue with them no matter how hard you look. I've been using investment-cast parts from Ruger (mostly under other makers' names - Ruger supplies many gun makers and parts companies as an OEM vendor) for years and this is some of the best product I've seen come from Pine Tree (their plant in NH).
Unhesitatingly I say get one, whatever you want - blue, case-color (discontinued), or stainless. The value is good. I'm not a Ruger "fan boy" - I've always respected them but never been moved by them. But this thing has me grinning like a fool once in a while. Don't worry that it can't handle those over-pressure "Ruger only" .45 Long Colt loads Buffalo Bore or other hot-rodders sell. Even standard pressure .45 LC loads are stout. Load them correctly and even low-pressure .45LC loads can push 255 grains at 1000fps. That hits hard. Also, Ruger last year introduced the "convertible" model - a .45 LC/ACP with two cylinders. This demonstrates the cylinder can handle substantially more pressure than SAAMI .45LC (.45 ACP is about 50% more pressure than SAAMI .45LC).
I love my Colts and S&Ws, but the New Vaquero is a real winner of a gun. I'm even beginning to re-think my "no single actions in bear country" rule.
Tony says: Say "Hello" to my little friend:
The New Vaquero is closer to a SAA Colt than the original Vaquero. I have a space in the revolver safe for one, a short barrel this time. What's not to like about a Ruger?
Thanks for the input. Actually I have had three SA guns in the past - a Colt New Frontier .22, a Ruger Super Blackhawk and a SS Ruger Blackhawk in .357 which was a great gun for quality but I did not like the frame style of the Blackhawk - which is why I like the New Model Vaquero. Also I could care less about the over-pressure loads. I almost never load to maximum velocity anyway. I can see though I will want a color case model so I will have to start looking!